After experiencing one of the best online gigs from our London sofa, at the end of January, we’ve contacted one of the greatest actors of the Swedish punk rock scene to talk about it. It’s in the snow, between rehearsals and without his guitar and mates, that Nicholaus Arson has accepted to share some insights on The Hives’ recent World Wild Web World Tour. Live Report and Interview.
It’s during a cold winter evening that the Northwind has, weirdly enough, warmed us. On our screen, the beginnings of a grandiose gig are up and running. In a white box, a red neon is announcing it: The Hives are back on stage, pandemic or not. And what a joy it is to live it through so much awaking interaction! Whether it is with a written message on the chat, a recording, a WhatsApp call, and even maybe one or two messaging pigeons, the Swedes, punk garage royalties, have put everything in place to make us feel as if we were breathing the same air as them. Their London show was full of mischief, and we have no doubt the others were the same. With six incredible and historical shows, played at the time of a ‘normal’ gig depending on the location visited (Sao Paulo or Sydney, London or Stockholm), The Hives adapted and, then again, shining through their savoir-faire. What a band!
Unis Son: So you’re just out of the World’s First World Wild Web World Tour with The Hives. How do you feel about it?
Nicholaus Arson: It was awesome! I mean, it was as close as proper live show as you know it can possibly be. We had all these applause and stuff recorded from previous shows, and when we walked on the first day, it felt like a normal show until I turn around, and I only saw a wall and a camera. But it was so close to live that I was easily fooled. And the fact that the fans were able to participate in different ways, calling in and stuff, it totally made it feel at least like you’re part of it at the same time. That really helped. It was nothing short of awesome!
US: This was probably the best virtual live I’ve seen. How did you come up with this idea that I think was absolutely brilliant?
NA: Yeah, thank you! We also think it’s the best one we’ve seen. I mean, we were watching all these shows, some of them were just like… we felt we didn’t want to do that. It felt empty, kind of; you weren’t able to connect with fans or things like that. There are so many things that could‘ve gone wrong, but everything just went right. So it was pretty awesome.
US: That’s great, I mean, it’s a bit like a live stream on Twitch… I don’t know if you watch that or not at all…
NA: I saw a bit of Twitch. I was doing some research before this, so I saw a bit of Twitch and stuff…
US: Yeah, so everything can go wrong, but in the end, when it goes right, it goes really right, and it did!
NA: Yeah! Thank you!
US: Some other gigs went for visual interaction, with a massive screen on stage, for example, and you guys went for sound interaction. Why?
NA: Well, it was the sound interaction and where we wanted to go was the feeling that you are actually in the show. We wanted a single camera moving around, moving up where the camera was, behind Chris and right next to Chris, you know, then right next to someone else, you can never get that if you’re just in the audience, so that was one of the things we wanted, a single camera. When we were watching these shows, as soon as they cut from a different camera to a new camera, it totally feels like you’re being removed from the feeling of being in the show. With tons of screens behind the band, you’ve just got the feeling that it’s just sort of filmed event.
US: How was it for you, while you were playing, to have someone with a camera so close to you, navigating between you guys?
NA: Oh, that was alright, you know. The guy operating the camera is a dude we kind of know, and all the showmanship and the show-off elements we accumulated over the time we had sitting in our houses was enough to be completely show off in front of the camera, so he was completely fine with that. It was fun, it was just like showing off in front of a bunch of friends.
US: Would you do it again if the situation were to last a bit longer than we’d like it to?
NA: The plan was… we always called this one leg One for the WWW-World Tour so, if we want to add a second leg of whatever, we can do that. We could also something else with it, you know, call the cameramen together, and just turn on, and just look grade A. We might be, you know, when we will record our records, release our records and do a full show with that or something like that. So yeah, it opens up a bunch of possibilities for us to do, in corona times as well. So yeah, I think we will consider doing another one.
US: That would be really, really cool. I’ve seen theatre shows like that too because every theatre in London is closed still, and the live element is brining some hope, so a second Leg of the tour, I think everyone would like that.
NA: Here you go. It’s bringing live element into it.
US: Yeah, it brings hope, it brings everything, it brings energy, I was literally jumping on my sofa during the live.
NA: [laughs] Nice! It was something, you know. We had this phone ringing, and that phone never stopped ringing in and after the shows, so we were constantly picking up the phone and talking to people and they were like “heyyy we’re drinking cider and doing party” and I was God it’s nice, you know. It was pretty cool and we also called people after. We had missed calls, so I was like “hello, I have a missed call from you” and they were like “who is this?” [laughs] That was tons of fun!
US: Yeah, it looked like you had fun.
NA: Yeah, definitively, it’s the most fun we had during this whole pandemic. That was awesome!
US: Do you have any recommendation for culture, or art, or music during lockdown?
NA: Yeah, there is this Swedish band that is really good, the Viagra Boys, they’re really good, they’re doing cool stuff, and they’re also very busy. I think they’ve even released a record during the pandemic, so they’re putting out a lot of new stuff as well. They have a really cool duet with Amyl from Amyl and The Sniffers as well, it’s on YouTube now.
US: Do you have any plans for the future? What about the potential albums?
NA: We’re working on it! We’re actually rehearsing this week for the new album. So, we kind of decided for now, but the problem is that we have to look for stuff. We were on our way to record elsewhere, but now we’re not allowed to travel, so we have to start from square one, and start looking for places in Sweden where we can record. We have these two records and we have a third one on the work as well. If we can’t record this record which we’d prefer, in a certain studio, then maybe we’d move on to this other record we can actually record in Sweden. So, actually, we have a side plan, but it’s up to how the pandemic goes to see where we end up with that.
US: Well, fingers crossed for you guys. Last time I’ve actually seen you live, besides this one online, was also in London, at Finsbury Park with Queens Of The Stones Ages and Iggy Pop…
NA: Oh yeah, that was a great show!
US: I mean, every show! [laughs]
NA: Now, when you talk about a show, doesn’t matter which one, everything is better than this. You’re missing every show no matter of shit they were.
We want to thank Nicholaus Arson again for his time and for answering our questions, and we hope to hear more soon. And of course, we can’t wait to hear more from them, live in person or online.